Saturday, 24 September 2011

Films: Soul Surfer


















Soul Surfer
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Sean McNamara
Released: 23rd September 2011
Popcorns: 3/5

Lost in the Multiplex have put up my review of Soul Surfer...

Soul Surfer is the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a semi-pro surfer, on the verge of making it into the professional circuit. She gets close until disaster strikes - a shark takes a bite out of her and tears off her left arm. It’s a tale of overcoming the odds to prove that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

If you want to check out the rest of the review, click here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Films: 30 Minutes or Less



















30 Minutes or Less
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Released: 16th September 2011
Rating: 15
Popcorns: 2.5/5

Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

After watching the trailer about four times before I went to see 30 Minutes or Less, I was pretty pumped going in, expecting a lot of laughs and great acting. I got neither!

The movie focuses on two roommates, Eisenberg and Ansari, going through a tough time in their relationship and two self confessed “entrepreneurials”, played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, who are actually just idiots that listen to ICP and think up mad schemes to make a quick buck.

Their latest idea consists of kidnapping someone to rob a bank, to get $100,000 to hire a hitman to kill Dwayne’s father, who has about $1,000,000 left of his lottery winnings, which would then go to Dwayne.
The aforementioned kidnapee is Nick, a pizza delivery guy out for an easy life and in love with his best friend Chet’s sister. I’m really not giving anything away by saying that he gets a bomb strapped to him by Dwayne and Travis and is forced to rob a bank to help them on their way in their master plan.

As you can probably tell from my summary, the storyline is absolutely all over the place and this really does reflect in the script. The best lines have been given to Aziz Ansari, who seems to deliver them by just shouting at people when he’s supposed to be saying something funny. I’m not sure how this guy keeps getting cast in things?!
Another point that needs to be addressed is how on earth are these baffoons smart enough to make such a complex bomb vest? Surely if they added that to their CVs, they’d be able to get some sort of job in electronics, or even bomb defusal. They’re just not working to their strengths.

Danny McBride was pretty funny, as always and Jesse Eisenberg was his usual, subtly funny, self. He seems to have found his style and is sticking with it. No complaints from me, as I’m a fan of the Michael Cera ‘awkward’ acting.

The title 30 Minutes or Less only really comes into play for the first part of the film, which really has no effect on the storyline. The only thing it shows is that he’s a good/questionable driver.
This brings me onto the car chases, which were pretty immense and really well filmed. A lot of nice editing and great stunts made these the highlight of the film for me.
Another plus point is the music throughout the film. It has a brilliant soundtrack consisting of tracks from The Beastie Boys, The Hives and even a little Ol’ Dirty bastard thrown in there for good measure.

The marketing team has done a fantastic job and I’m sure there will be bums on seats for this one. The trailer certainly makes it out to be a lot funnier than it is, there’s a slick poster and with Eisenberg’s face and ‘From the Director of Zombieland’ scrawled on there, I’m pretty sure this will be a hit at the box office.

Ruben Fleischer, who directed Zombieland (funnily enough), which was one of my personal favourite films of 2009, has made a film this time around that won’t even touch my top 20 of 2011. Comparing it to Zombieland is a travesty, as it’s not even in the same ball park.

That said, my wife, sister in-law and best mate all seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, so maybe the film is perfectly fine and it’s just me being a grump. I guess you’ll just have to decide for yourself and fork out a nice crisp £10 note for the pleasure. You don’t get much film for your money either, at a measly 83mins long. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

News: The Big Year/The Three Stooges

Thanks to the lovely people over at Lost in the Multiplex,  I now write some news pieces for them.
Check out my first couple by clicking on the links below:

The Big Year



















The Three Stooges









(pic borrowed from comingsoon.net)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Films: Confetti



















Confetti
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Debbie Isitt
Released: 2006
Rating: 15
Popcorns: 2.5/5

A mockumentary that follows three couples as they battle it out to win the coveted title of 'Most Original Wedding of the Year'.

I've been watching quite a few documentaries of late, so I decided I would break the trend and watch a fake one...also known as a 'mockumentary'.

Three couples are picked by Jimmy Carr to compete in Confetti magazine's competition to win a front cover spread with the magazine, featuring their wedding.

The couples are:
  • Martin Freeman and Jessica Hynes, as Matt and Sam.  Their dream wedding consists of a huge musical number, with dancers and a huge wedding cake for them to share their first dance atop of.
  • Stephen Mangan and Meredith Macneill, as Josef and Isabelle.  They are avid tennis fans, so base their wedding around this, with ball boys, a net and a bouquet of flowers around a tennis racket.
  • Robert Webb and Olivia Colman, as Michael and Joanna.  They're the funniest couple of the lot and are naked most of the way through the film, due to being naturists.
My favourite characters of the whole film were the two gay wedding planners, played by Jason Watkins and Vincent Franklin.  It was quite refreshing seeing the comedic side of Watkins, as I've mostly seen him play quite serious roles previously.  They both do a great job of hamming up every scene they're in and there's quite a few touching moments between the two of them.

The best line of the film has to go to Josef, when he exclaims to his wife to be; "Please get it into your thick head, how much i respect you."

The film is full of amazing British comedy talent and I'm quite shocked that it's not more well known, as most people I've talked to about it have never heard of it.
It was a little bit over acted in parts, but I think it all added to mockumentary feel.
I'd watch it again if it was on the telly, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out, if I was you.

It's certainly not the 'Funniest British comedy in years', as the DVD cover claims.

Films: Crazy, Stupid, Love.



















Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Released: 23rd September 2011
Rating: 12a
Popcorns: 4.5/5

A father's life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children.

Crazy, Stupid, Love was my 250th film watched this year, so far.  I'm very pleased to say that it was a great film to hit that landmark with and I really do urge everyone to go and see this at the cinema.

The story is told through three different love stories, but mainly focuses on the unlikely relationship struck up between Cal and Jacob; played by Carell and Gosling, respectively.
Cal and his wife, Emily (Moore), are going through a divorce, due to her sleeping with another man from her work, David Lindhagan.  The break up hits Cal pretty hard, so he spends his days and nights in a bar, drowning his sorrows with vodka & cranberry, or some other watered down spirit.
This is until he meets Jacob, a womaniser and all round hunk, who vows to help Cal change his life around and eventually win back Emily from the arms of the evil Kevin Bacon.

As you can imagine, hilarity ensues, watching Cal awkwardly try to chat up women in the bar, whilst boring them with tales of his break up and his kid's lives.
Whilst this is going on, elsewhere in the film, Cal's son Robbie has fallen madly in love with his babysitter.  The babysitter has fallen madly in love with Cal and Jacob has fallen madly in love with a girl he met at the bar, called Hannah.  Hannah's played by Emma Stone, who we like very much and she will play a key part in the film later on...which I shall not spoil right here.

It's all a huge mix up and conflict of interests from all of the characters that really make this film something special and the insanely hilarious scene near the end will have even the most hardened movie goer laughing in the aisles.  Even the cringe worthy moments were done so well, that it wasn't too over the top.
Stone and Gosling and Carell and Moore both made for convincing couples, with Bacon and Marisa Tomei thrown in there to shake up the latter's relationship.

Every actor is great in this movie and the chemistry between the whole cast really made it look like they had fun on set.  The only exception I would make to this was Kevin Bacon.  It seemed a bit of a waste of a wage to put such a high profile actor in a bit part and he didn't really add much Bacon-ness to it.

Every man that sees this film will want to be Ryan Gosling and every woman will want to be with him.  I'm pretty sure most of the men will want to be with him too, as I've heard of many a man crush developing for this fine actor.  He's funny, handsome and charming and is the best thing about this film.

I've never seen anything by the directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa before, but they seem to be quite a capable duo.  I will most definitely be checking out 'I Love You Phillip Morris' after seeing this.

This is the kind of film I wouldn't have normally seen at the cinema, but it looks like it may well be the surprise comedy hit of the Summer (okay, it's nearly Autumn now).  Save money on Friends With Benefits and see this instead when it comes out on 23/09/11.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Films: Friends With Benefits



















Friends With Benefits
Reviewer: J. Leigh
Director: Will Gluck
Released: 9th September 2011
Rating: 15
Popcorns: 3/5

While trying to avoid the clich├ęs of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan and Jamie soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.

If you are thinking of going to see a romantic comedy this summer...don't go see this!!! No, really...
With promises of "rom-com of 2011", this movie was sorely disappointing.  Big names, like Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake really didn't turn the tide with this outing.

The premise of the movie starts with the main characters, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis), both in quite a rush to get to their respective partners.  Dylan, a workaholic art and graphic designer and Jamie, a Headhunter (in business; not as in assassin killer), are given the rough end of the stick and dumped by cameo parts Emma Stone and Adam Samberg.  Jamie spots the talents of Dylan through his work and offers him a job with the high flying magazine, GQ.  With a very flirty attitude and rich New York culture she manages to convince Dylan to take the job.  This had nothing to do at all with her taking him up to the top of a high rise building and showing him her special place...Not that special place you sick puppies!!

As Dylan has moved from LA to New York, Jamie helps him find a place to stay and they form quite the friendship.  One night, after a few beers, they get onto the discussion of relationships and how they pose so many issues from the opposite sex and get on the topic of sex with no strings attached; 'Tennis' as Dylan puts it euphemistcally.  Both of them agree that they will be FWBs, with no emotions, no attachments, just purely SEX.  Anyone else see where this is going??
Emotional conflict ensues and the characters fall for each other in the typical hollywood movie style.
A good cameo from Woody Harrelson, as a gay sports correspondent, still wasn't quite enough to make it a great film?!

The plot was pretty thin on the ground and coming off the back of oscar winning roles in Social Network and Black Swan respectively; apart from a few good giggles this film didn't quite pull the same punches as Crazy, Stupid, Love. (OMG how fit is Ryan Gosling???)

I would give this movie a 3/5 popcorns only for the crush I have on both the main parts otherwise 2/5

Smurf Out!! (",)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Films: Confessions of a Superhero



















Confessions of a Superhero
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Matthew Ogens
Released: 2007
Popcorns: 3.5/5

Chronicles the lives of four mortal men and women who work as characters on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard.

Ever since I visited Hollywood, when I was about 12, I've always wondered about all the people who stand and pose for photos, dressed as their favourite characters from TV and films.  It fascinated me that these people were stood there all day and didn't realise at the time that it was actually their jobs, or at least a weekend job to get a bit of money on the side.

Confessions of a Superhero focuses upon four of the aforementioned characters, their struggle to make it into show business and how they ended up standing outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.  The four characters are Hulk, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.
Hulk is played by Joe McQueen, who came to Hollywood so keen to pursue his dream of stardom, that he started out his days there homeless and washing in Macdonalds before his auditions.
Batman is played by Maxwell Allen, who considers himself a George Clooney lookalike, has serious anger issue and seems to be a compulsive liar.
Wonder Woman is played by Jennifer Wenger, who came from a town where she was Queen of everything to chase her dream of being a Hollywood actress.
Finally, Superman is played by Christopher Dennis, who is obsessed with the Man of Steel and has been dressing up as him for the past 15ish years.  He also claims to be the son of Sandy Dennis, although the rest of her family deny this.

Surprisingly, these people are actually making a living out of this and sometimes are earning up to $500 a day from 'donations' from tourists.
The Chinese Theatre frown upon them and do not want to be associated with them at all. The police have no qualms with them, as long as they stick to the rules. The main two rules are that they must not ask for money, but they are allowed to accept donations and they have to stay off private property, which is clearly marked on the pavements outside of the shops.

They finally get some recognition because of an incident between Elmo, Mr. Incredible and some tourists, when Elmo and Mr. Incredible were arrested and a few of the other characters are interviewed for the news.
This leads to a few TV spots on the Jimmy Kimmell show and a rise in popularity and donations for each of them.


This is a really well put together documentary, spliced with some great pictures, that really capture all four of the people's lives and personalities.
It's a great look into the human psyche and is sometimes quite sad to see what people put themselves through to try and achieve fame.  Saying that, each one of the people interviewed for the documentary seem truly happy doing what they're doing and still hold that hope that one day they will get their starring role.

Films: Colombiana



















Colombiana
Reviewer: J. Leigh
Director: Olivier Megaton
Released: 9th September 2011
Rating: 15
Popcorns: 2.5/5

A young woman, after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

Well, Luc Besson never fails when it comes to action movies.  However, Colombiana, in all its rich and sometimes harrowing imagery was somewhat disappointing...

The story begins in Bogota.  Cataleya, the young daughter of a Colombian cartel member, is suddenly thrown into a fight for her life after her father and mother are slaughtered by goons of the angry cartel boss! It's amazing that this 8 or 9 year old girl knows parkour?!?
She is given an SD card, an address in Chicago and a business card for a member of the US embassy and takes to her toes.  The information held on the card turns out to be so important, it's her passport into the USA...Cliche, i hear you say??

Suddenly, we are propelled 15 years into the future and we find Cataleya lives with her father's brother, from time to time.  That is, when she isn't seeking out members of the gang that killed her parents to entice out the cartel boss who ordered the hit!!

Quite frankly, this is a reboot of one of Besson's finest films, Leon. Only, with the focus upon the main protagonist's adult life.
Some really choppy editing in the fight scenes made your head spin and it was very easy to guess what happened next.

Only worthwhile thing to write about is Zoe Saldana herself.  Some amazing outfits throughout the film; especially the catsuit.....Mmmmmm.
To be honest, it's a one watch.
 
Colombiana is out in the UK today (09/09/11) at most respectable and none respectable cinema chains.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Films: Happythankyoumoreplease



















Happythankyoumoreplease
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Josh Radnor
Released: 2010
Rating: R (MPAA)
Popcorns: 2/5

I always paste in the plot summaries from imdb, so you can get a taste of the film.  Check out how pretentious this one is:

Captures a generational moment - young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved. 

Eeeff!  Should have read that before I started watching it, because then I may not have.
If that summary wets your whistle, then read on and see if I can change your mind...

The story centres around a failed freelance writer called Sam, played by Josh Radnor, who is unlucky in love and has a mental block with his work.
On his way to a job interview, he notices that a child is lost on the subway.  Being the good citizen that he is, he takes the child under his wing and heads off to take him to the police station.  Complications ensue and Sam ends up taking him to his job interview, which he, unsurprisingly, fails.
Now, rather than taking Rasheen (the child) to the police station after the interview, Sam decides to hold on to him for a couple of days and lets him stay at his apartment.  In my books, that's known as kidnap!

Sam builds up a bit of a brotherly relationship with Rasheen and he tries to make out to friends and his new beau that because Rasheen doesn't like his foster parents, it's ok and not at all wierd that the boy would be staying with him.  Eventually the police catch up with him and take the kid back into foster care.

I think you're supposed to empathise with Radnor's character, but he's just got a big fat face that you want to punch!  He only seems to be able to play Ted Mosby as well.  Ted is his character from How I Met Your Mother, who is equally pathetic and annoying.  To be fair, this is only the 2nd thing I've seen him in, but 2 out of 2 is 100% to me.

Talking of annoying; the film is supposed to be documenting 3 blossoming relationships, including Sam's one, but none of them seem that believable really.  Sam stalks a girl from a coffee shop called Mississippi, who still falls for him, even though he is a child snatcher.
Sam's 'cousin', Mary-Catherine, is with a douche bag, who wants to move away to LA, even though she doesn't want to and things are only remedied by her getting pregnant.
Sam's best friend is involved in the 3rd relationship.  She has alopecia, but feels super sorry for herself over it and is incredibly up her own arse at the same time!  The bloke who goes after her is pretty ugly and she does some huge inspirational speech about how she doesn't see that he's an ugly bloke, just because he's given her a bit of attention.

Overall, it just seemed a little bit too forced and like it was trying to be a cute indie flick, but falls right on it's ass, due to the self indulgence of it's writer/director, Josh Radnor.

I could carry on ranting about this film all day and I'm sure some people will like it.  It just makes you wonder why there's been no distribution for it in the UK yet? Maybe they all thought it was a bit poop, like me?!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Films: Vanishing of the Bees



















Vanishing of the Bees
Reviewer: Wally
Director: George Langworthy, Maryam Henein
Released: 2009
Rating: U
Popcorns: 3/5

This documentary takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee.

I'm not really sure how other people would view this documentary.  Hopefully, you would think it was informative and interesting and not too boring.  I watched it because I bloody love bees!!

It's basically a one sided view of why the honeybee population is dwindling and bee keepers around the world seem to be discovering empty hives, where there was once a thriving, honey making troop.
It's one sided, because the pesticide companies, who are being blamed for this issue, refused to comment or be filmed.

There's not really much I can say about this documentary, as I fully agree that pesticides can be bad, but without the other side of the arguement, it's pretty pointless to be argueing, because the only people who are going to watch it are the people who agree with you!

Please don't get me wrong on this film.  It's a very well put together documentary of an issue that is quite worrying in the long run and should be addressed by the powers that bee (sorry).

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Films: Hop



















Hop
Reviewer: Wally
Director: Tim Hill
Released: 2011
Rating: U
Popcorns: 2/5

E.B., the Easter Bunny's teenage son, heads to Hollywood, determined to become a drummer in a rock 'n' roll band. In LA, he's taken in by Fred after the out-of-work slacker hits E.B. with his car.

With Tim Hill being the nephew of the late, great George Roy Hill; director of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, to name but a few, you would expect him to follow in his footsteps and not just churn out poor animation films like Garfield 2 and Alvin and the Chipmunks.  Poor George would be turning in his grave.

Hop really isn't much of an exception to this.  It's got nothing to make it stand out of the crowd of animation/live action mash ups we've been bombarded with in the past few years.
It did, however, keep me entertained enough over the 95min running time to not turn it off, although my fingered hovered heavily over the eject button when everyone broke out into an impromptu song and dance routine in the middle of the film.  Unless it's King Julien doing 'I like to move it, move it' in Madagascar, then I'm not interested!

The basic premise is that the Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie) is trying to train up his son to follow in his footsteps, whilst the rebel son, voiced by the hairy and flamboyant Russell Brand, has better ideas of going into the real world and wreaking havoc, trying to start a rock band.  Something along those lines anyway.
Brand was pretty funny in it for the most part, while his human sidekick, played by James Marsden was unfunny and a douche. Oh how far you've come from playing Cyclops in X-Men!

A redeeming feature was the quality of the animation playing along side the live action sets.  They seemed to get all the reflections correct on surfaces and the interaction between characters was spot on.  Also, I found myself LOLing at least 5 times during the film. That works out to about a LOL every 19 minutes, or 0.05 of a LOL per minute. Actually, that's a pretty poor minute to LOL ratio!

I fear I may have written more about this than Blue Valentine.  If you are a child, see this.  If you are anything but, see Blue Valentine, or most other films for that matter.  It was OK, and that was all.

As for Tim Hill...Shame on you for putting your name down to direct the Short Circuit remake in 2013. I spit in your general direction!